Marine Reenactors/Living Historians
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  1. #1

    Marine Reenactors/Living Historians

    So I wonder how many of you actually do this. I was raised on American Civil War from day one. My family and lots of my mentors growing up were reenactors. Naturally being stationed out here in California and always wanting to try my hand at something, I decided to go for WW2 since I figured there were tons of WW2 reenactors out here... turns out there were.

    I've been in the WW2 hobby for about 3 years now. Loving every minute of it, but its turned me into quite the collector:

    My main:

    442nd RCT/34th Infantry Division (our unit does both, one for the Japanese/Asian peeps, another for everyone else). 34th, Tunisia, 1943. This was taken with a vintage camera, and for the life of me I don't remember what I was doing in that picture. Thinking obviously. The photographer added the LIFE stuff later. This is the primary impression of my unit. If you've seen "Go For Broke" or you know who the 100th Battalion and 442nd RCT Nisei are then those are it. For the non-asians we do the 133rd Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. The 100th Battalion intially replaced their first battalion who was tasked with guarding the Corps HQ in Italy. 34th had the Army record of first overseas (to Ireland/England to train), one of the last divisions back, and most hills taken and fought from Operation Torch in North Africa, skipped Sicily and fought in every major and most minor campaigns in Italy from Naples-Foggia, to the Po Valley.

    Yes its E. Co 2/506. The unit we joined (mainly so we can get more battles in a year) has been doing it looong before the series and book were written and Pfc Ed Pepping, a E. Co. Medic is their patron veteran and has been there with them for quite some time. June 6, 1944. Because of the "Bandwagon of Brothers" effect on reenacting this unit has taken to portraying all of the 2nd Battalion. At a battle last October they reunited 5 Fox and Easy Company vets to include Don Malarkey as well as Bob Noody, whom Malarkey hadn't seen since they did an NCO course together in '45. It was a very awesome thing to witness those guys meet up.

    Yes I can play the baddies too. A Gefreiter from Infanterie Regiment GrossDeutschland. This is Southern Russia: Winter, 1944. We have a group of guys who do German to fight the Russians in the 1-2 "OstFronts" we have a year. Naturally the GD never fought on the western front. Every waking hour for them was on the East Front. Besides, I grew up on military history and on WW2 and realized at a young age the Wehrmacht Heer was a VERY professional army and naturally an inspiration and challenge for many future military thinkers/leaders.

    And here's the impressions that I use the least but mean the most to me (for obvious reasons):

    US Marine, circa Iwo Jima or Okinawa, 1945. Normally we don't do late war Marines much. But I have a blank Army 41 jacket and decided to get a candid shot with it on when I was doing a living history display at the Miramar Air Museum, for those of you in the SD area, we hope to attend more of the Open Cockpit days through the summer.
    US Marine, circa Hue City 1967-1968. That CH-46 I'm standing on was the one that nabbed our Ambassador from the Saigon Embassy in 1975. Also at the Miramar Air Museum, I understand I'm not fully outfitted yet, I need to grab a lot of "filler items" to make it all look good. No I don't do the "tactical" aspect with this, thats a borrowed airsoft rifle a friend uses to airsoft IDF (hence the tan sling). A fellow WW2 reenactor has a M151 and 'Nam era Deuce-and-a-half that he takes to parades and airshows. He dresses up as a Marine MP from the era, I figured that our vets from there don't get enough recognition and offered to put together the impression to help him out. Besides, one of the guys I reenacted CW with, and the basis of my Vietnam Impression, was wounded at Hue. Hes one of the best men I've ever known, apart from his father (1st MarDiv Marine WW2, did all the major campaigns with them too )

    And for fun, Marine Raider Bougainville, 1944, one of my friends who does Imperial Japanese Army, normally we never get to capture them at tacticals, they like "dying" too much. And I never get to wear my P42 utilities much so it seemed like a good excuse:

    Marine Aviator, VMF-214, 1943. Okay so... Strangers have this habit of thinking I look like Pappy himself. I still don't see it. I guess I kinda capture his mannerism in my stance but I've been told I'm too tall anyways, but people keep seeing a resemblance. It creeps me out and I finally had to cave into it when a American Volunteer Group reenactor asked if I'd be a part of his unit portraying Pappy in his Flying Tiger days. After reading Baa Baa Black Sheep, I like Pappy's attitude (That last line will always linger in my mind: "Show me a hero, and I'll show you he's a bum.") and said yes!:

    And my roots:

    Private, K company, 8th LA (Louisiana) Volunteer Infantry. Processed as a wet ferrotype. still one of my favorite "pictures."

    In the works is a German Fallschirmjager, which I only have a helmet and a jump smock for but its something I'm waiting to fix.

    Any others of the historian/collector/reenactor type out there?

  2. #2
    Hey sir,

    I do American Civil War too, it's been my "break-in" to the reenacting Hobby. I started out with a fairly mainstream/semi-progressive unit the 1st MD Volunteer Infantry.I reenacted with them for about a year and I still do a few events with them, but I've graduated to more hard core genres of the Hobby. My main affiliation now is the 95th PA but I mainly role with a certain clique in that unit and some times galvanize as reb. I've also done events with the Chesapeake Volunteer Guard.

    I've kind of gone super hardcore (I've wanted to from day one but its taken a while to gain the contacts). For instance I am heavily into marching, the even I am most proud of is the Sixth Corps to Gettysburg where I marched with a small group of awesome guys from Chantilly Virginia to Gettysburg PA in 7 days. Truly awesome. I have also done the AP Hill march from Harpers Ferry Va. to Sharpsburg Md. 17 miles, rugged terrain, rediculous heat, all while wearing a confederate jean cloth Frock coat! It was awesome though.

    Here is a picture of the boys along the Baltimore Pike on the last leg to Gettysburg. I am to the right of the colours, I carrierd the stars and stripes most of the way on the march. We are taking one of our periodic rest stops, this was the most intense part of the march. We started 37 miles away at 10pm the night before, marched through Westminster and had a brief layover (2 hrs) at Union Mills aver the first 17 miles. Marched to Littleston for another hour break and then on for the last 10 miles to Gettysburg. I was beat, but it was motivating when I let the Colours fly the last few miles to Little Roung Top.

    For a better look at most of the group (this was all we had midway through before we started getting stragglers). Doug Dobbs and organizer is holding the Colours, I am holding the Sixth Corps standard. Eric Wilson is top left and Brian Brown is top right. We look like ****!


  3. #3
    I'm thinking about starting the reenactor hobby. Where I live, there is just a few Marine reenactors, and only one group. I'm interested in the Civil War Period, United States Marines. What I need is information about uniform and equipment for a Marine Sergeant during the period. I have a 1851 Navy Colt on lay-away. After I pay off the Colt I will put on lay-away the rest of the black powder equipment that will be needed. In the future I would like to get a 58 Caliber Springfield. I can only do this a little at a time, at least until I get a pay raise from papa Obummer. As for a uniform, first I would like to gear up with a field uniform. I would be interested in books, DVDs, and advice on the Marines for this era. Did the lighter blue trousers come into use about the same time as the Springfield was adopted. I would like to be as accurite as possible in gearing up. Although the Navy Colt is not correct, because it is a 44 and not a 36 caliber. So before I buy anything else I want to be historically correct in my purchase. I enjoy Marine Corps History, and I know the Marines played a small roll during the war, mainly aboard ships manning Navy Guns during blockades of the South. The majority of reenactors in the Boise, ID area for the Civil War are into Army Artillery.

  4. #4
    Tuboe, where do you live? is the deal with doing 'Marine'. I speak from long reenactor PLEASE take this in the spirit in which it is intended....(Stonewall Brigade, CSA, Infantry private, Infantry Corporal, then Assistant Surgeon, then paid docent at the Museum of Civil War Medicine...long resume there...and now the current Logistics Chief of the US Marine Corps Historical Company...)...

    Before you go buying tons of cool gear, and possibly spending your money on the 'incorrect' items....RESEARCH. Money well spent on reference books, good ones, will pay off in the long run. Yes, uniform and equippage is important, but the INFORMATION you are passing along is far more important. For example, what weapon did a Marine of the period carry? What drill did they do with it? How old was the average Marine private in 1862? Did you know the Marines were at 1st Manassas and played a critical role in that action?

    Moving on....which uniform did the Marines wear, and why? What did the Marines do at Harpers Ferry in 1859? What uniform were they wearing, and why? What was the signficance of the Fatigue uniform?

    You are taking a good first step, but research is the key to doing a good impression. I don't even WEAR a uniform anymore unless it's absolutely required.

    You are going to run into difficulty, mostly because of your location.

  5. #5
    Hey I am Brad Becker USMC retired here in Swansboro Near Camp Lejeune MCB I sell USMC AND CSMC Uniforms. I am a PVT in the 5th NC ST. We are not a galvanised unit (means does both north and south) We are strictly Confederate. I would like to join a U.S. Marine reenatment group for my Federal impression. Their are not many large units its not allot of fun if there is just one or two of you. I am also a Sutler I have example of USMC uniforms I can make any of them in Gray with Block M buttons for CSMC.

  6. #6
    I do I started 2 years ago whish I had started when I was allot younger now 54. Allot of Marines and retired Marines at Lejeune do Civil War reenacting maybe 200 - 300. I guess it not that big when you figure the base has 45,000 aboard it

  7. #7
    Haven't heard the term "galvanized" used in some time. Galvanized Yankees were Confederate POW's who were released from northern prisons during the civil war on the condition that they join units on the frontier which were fighting Indians. The "Galvanized Yankees in these units served under their own leaders and did well.

    My only experience which would come close to reenacting was hunting for years during blackpowder deer season with my original .58 Cal. 1855 Springfield. With two 30 gr. Clean Shot pellets and a dry 500 gr. minnie ball, it was still very accurate.

  8. #8
    Tuboe, If you are interested send me a PM. I have few hookups with the most accurate Civil War era Marine uniforms out there. There are only a few groups in the hobby now a days that you want to pursue if you want to accurately honor and portray a civil war soldier.

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